Monday, February 9, 2015

Five year mark, Chocolate, Chernigov

I refuse to accept that this might be my last email home, so I'm gonna keep pretending that somehow I'll squeeze one out next Monday, too. But, in case I don't, this is your formal invitation to my HOMECOMING Sunday the 22nd at 9am at the church on 10945 South 1700 East in Sandy. While I've been assigned a topic, I'm thinking I'll go rouge and either discuss Kolob or plural marriage. 

This week was my companion's five year mark as a member of the church! We celebrated by getting sushi (she inexplicably really loves sushi and it is adorable). She is seriously such an incredible missionary. I loved thinking about how five years ago she was a sweet little investigator who the missionaries undoubtedly loved to pieces. And now she's already this incredible strong and powerful missionary. It's just the coolest little circle of the church in Ukraine. 

Last Pday I went to this place called Lviv Chocolate with Ira. They have hot chocolate that is literally hot chocolate. They have great vats of melted chocolate and you pick if you want dark, white, or milk. I used to think a chocolate fountain was the best thing ever. Turns out it's the second-best chocolate-related thing ever. Plus everything's more fun when Ira's involved.

Oh. My elevator is broken. It's funny, because I thought nothing else in my mission could break. We live on the ninth floor. So it's fine for now. But good heavens everyone start praying that the elevator starts working before next Monday or our elders are going to have to carry my two fifty-pound suitcases down nine flights of stairs.

I went to Chernigov this week! IT WAS THE BEST. First of all, I adore Sister McInnes and was so happy to spend a few days with her. We stayed up way to late talking and ate way too much junk food and it was perfect. Plus I got to see all my favorite people. It was so good, because it was just fun and not sad. Sometimes, when you see people for the last time, it's really sad because you spend the whole time saying goodbye. But somehow it just worked out that I just got to spend time with the people I loved and then said goodbye quickly at the end. It was perfect. I'm going to Voskresensky this week to say goodbye (have an exchange #STL), so I'm hoping that will be equally as perfect.

The Chernigov sisters teach institute (because everyone else there has been baptized in the past 2 years and can't do it) so I got my hands on a D&C institute manual. That thing is like crack. Seriously, I could NOT stop reading and finding out random deep doctrine not really related at all to missionary work but still just interesting to know. When I come home I am running away to a cave and not coming out until I've read at least 12 books. 

Also while I was in Chernigov, it snowed! Winter hasn't really happened lately, but she reappeared this week. I took a MAJOR wipe-out on the ice and the next day my back hurt it was no fun to walk. I was kinda grumpy all day and now have more compassion for old people (cough cough Lorin) who get grouchy when their back/knees/hips hurt.

Right now, every single person we are teaching has a major connection to the war in one way or another, including a few refugees from Lugansk and a woman whose husband was taken into the army. Something that I've noticed with them is this fear they carry with them. Before the war, they all had nice lives they'd built for themselves, lives which have now been majorly destroyed. Now, they're afraid to build again because they've seen how it can all be destroyed. As I've worked with them, it has really increased my gratitude for the Savior and that because of Him we can build things even Putin can't destroy. Because of the Atonement, we can build without fear of it all being destroyed or becoming meaningless. We know there are things that will last forever, things that have eternal worth and value. And that is just the best.

All the love,
Hannah



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