Blessings: I think the biggest blessing this week was that I didn't get frostbite! The weather took a nasty turn, and now Gorlovka is covered in snow and blistering cold wind! On Saturday we shoveled snow for 3 1/2 hours outside of the church, but because it was so windy and snowy we had to do it again Sunday morning. On Sunday, it was -18 F (counting windchill). The wind would hit my contacts and make my eyes water, and as the tear (if you could call it that) fell down my face, it froze before it hit my jawbone. So yes, I was definitely underestimating the weather, but I made it through the first week alright :P
Happenings for the week: Snow! Lots of it. The streets are completely frozen over, and I've fallen...a lot. Well I take that back, I fell a lot in one day. 3 times. But! I'm not falling anymore! I'm a little more prepared and careful! So last week we had to do a last minute move across the city because our old, awful apartment is getting renovated. However, the apartment we moved in to (with elders Porter/Lambert) Is 30 minutes away from Center, and Center is 30 minutes away from the area we were working (by bus). This last week we've spent at least 3 hours a day on buses commuting, it sucks! Good news though! Today we are moving up to Solnechy, which is the Eastern part of the city. It's apparently a really nice apartment (by Ukrainian standards at least), so I'll make sure to send pictures when we go up there. I haven't seen it yet. As for this coming week, the branch is holding a Christmas program during Sacrament. There will be narrations, songs, etc. etc. The coordinator was talking to Sister Southam about who she wanted to be the male narrarator, and out of everyone in the branch, she chose me. Just my luck, right? Haha. Needless to say, I've been practicing the script pretty intensely. We usually have 60-70 people show up to church each Sunday, but for this next week everyone will be bringing their friends, and we are trying to break an attendance record of over 100+ people. It will be hard because it's so cold, but hopefully we can pull it off. I just don't want to make another "Life can be spoons" mistake, especially with so many visitors :P Oh, and lastly, yesterday we were in the apartment, and heard a big BOOM, and smoke was everywhere. Turns out the electrical socket blew up, and took the cord that was in it with it. Yes, it literally blew the cord apart. Welcome to Ukraine! The room still has a lingering sulfur smell, but like I said we get to move out today so it doesn't affect me!
Random Fact: Soooo because there's so much snow here, and because it's cold , the parents here wrap their kids up like the little kid in " A Christmas story", and they seriously can't walk for more than a couple steps. I've seen some kids fall in the snow and just sit there because they can't get up, I'm laughing just thinking about it. Anyways, because they can't move, parents pull their kids on little sleds everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It's so cool!
Lessons we taught: Lessons have been tough because of our commuting, so there's nothing really new to report. We made Baklava (sp?) with a less active, that was pretty fun. This last week we focused a lot on less actives, and inviting them to the Christmas program this upcoming Sunday. We gave a really awesome lesson about blessings, and how if you want blessings, you need to be thankful for the blessings that you already have. Life itself is a blessing, we are all so lucky! Being here a month has shown me that I have SO much to be grateful for, and it has really changed my perspective.
Scripture of the week: 1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
I love this because it's so true. Pres. Monson said "Look not at how people are, but what they can become" Goethe has a good quote about that, but I can't remember it word for word. I love being able to look at anyone, and see the light in them. It's truly amazing what a positive outlook can help you see.
Sorry for the spelling errors, my hands are frozen!
Love you all!
|"That is the inside of a door, frozen over. Yeah, it's cold."|
|"Some of the roads in Gorlovka"|
|"The plug that I was talking about that blew up, haha!"|