Friday, August 3, 2007

I Feel Special!

Alright well first off thanks to all you that wrote me! I got lots ofmail this week which was way exciting and kinda supprising consideringmy email kinda sucked last week haha. sorry about that I was just supersick while I was at internet. I had to get up 4 times before I couldeven get throught that little letter so I just finished it and sent itbut I am feeling 100 times better now so that is VERY nice. (mansomething about Ukrainian food I swear...must be Vladamire's revenge ;-)Anyway so I hope this letter will be more interesting than last week. first off I should say Happy birthday to Corinn and kelsey. guess what?YOU'RE GETTING OLD! haha jk.
Ok so next new Comp. well he is my third Companion from idaho which puts me at 3/3. His name is elder davis and hes been on hismission for a year and a half. He still struggles quite a bit with thelanguage which gives us both alot of encouragement to do better atlearing and understanding but it also, of course, makes things a lilharder but its still worth it. We get along very well. He is very openminded and we have had alot of fun with eachother. I think I havelaughed more inthe last couple days than I have the whole rest of thetime I have been here. We have been doing alot of work getting our areabetter orginized which was quite a task but so far so good. we dong havea whole lot of promising people to teach right now but we have a fewthat with a lil push in the right direction could get the encouragement needed to do very well. So I know one of the things that is on all your minds when ever I write is my knee so I guess I should get to that before I kill you all withsuspense. So heres whats up (as far as I know right now) I calledpresident Andersen last friday night and explained what was going on andhe said he wanted me to see a doctor here in Kharkov so he was going tocall down to Kiev where they have a list of good certified doctors wecan see. So right now I am just waiting for a call from him to know whoand when I should see. I'm guessing it will be relativly soon becausenext weekend (in a week and a half) is Zone conf (which also means Iwill prolly be writing thurs or friday just as a heads up) so I figurepresident will want me to see a doctor before Zone conf so we can talkabout it when he comes up here. I'm sorry to all you who have had toworry about me because of this. Althought it has, of course, made thingsa little more difficult while I have been here I have absolutely noregrets about the decisions I made before coming out here. I have beenable to grow and learn more here than I think I could have anywhere elseand I have had opportunities to see miricles in a place that is sodesperately in need of them so I am still very happy I am here. I alsohope through all of this craziness we havent forgotten corinn and kelseycause I bet they have seen many more doctors than I have lately ;-) Ihope both of you are well and healthy and as you are praying for myhealth and safty I hope you know I do the same for you.
So real quick I want to tell you a story I forgot to tell you last week(cause I was feeling like garbage). So this actually happend beforeelder Cox left . But we were going out to visit and inactive girl I havementioned before her name is Ellia Gardushka and she live clear the heckout there so trips to her place require alot of time but we felt likethat day we should go out and check on her since we hadnt seen her atchurch. we went out and she wasnt home but we talked to her mom who isnot a memeber. Her mom said she would be interested to meet with us aswell as her daughter so that was really excitig but that isnt even thegood part of the story. So we were walking back down the forever longdirt road and we saw a man who had fallen down on the side of the roadand was bleading. He had obviously had a difficult life (like mostUkrainians) and this day was not an exception. As we crossed the streetto go help we saw a young lady (in her 20s) going to the different doorsasking people to help her because she did not have the streangth to liftthis man by her self and it was obvious he did not have the streangtheither. As she saw us coming she asked if we had come to help her and weanswered that we had. We picked the man up best we could and helped himto slowly move down the street to his home. as we were helping him theyoung lady offered to hold our books which we had in our hands. As wewalked down the street helping the man the young lady stared at thebooks we were carrying with the gold letters "Book of Mormon" and at thetwo young americans in clean white shirts helping this man none of usknew. after we got the man to his house is aunt came out of the nexthouse asking what happened and asking why we had taken time to help him.We just told her we did it cause we felt like it was right and we wouldhope everybody would be willing to do that for eachother. As we wereabout to leave the young lady remembered she was still carrying ourbooks and offered them back and just told us "You are the first realChristians I have seen. Thank you for helping me." Missionary work isnt all about tracting and teaching, It isnt about "keyIndicator" numbers, its showing people how to love and through a humbleexample showing a fraction of the love Christ had for each of us and hebore all of our burdens, all of our sicknesses, and all of our pain. Heis our streangth and our best example. He has overcome all so we donthave too. Just trust, thats all we need to do. Well thats about it for this week. Thanks for all your support it reallyhelps. I'll try and keep you updated on whats going on here so you dontworry too much.

I love you all.

Ct Ctat

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And the World Turns (7/25/07)

Alright so this week has been interesting but not all that exciting. Elder cox left for the states today (he left harkov for donnetsk on monday) so he is now LONG gone. I have spent the last three days getting bounced around between missionaries depending on who had time for me which is getting pretty old pretty quick. I'll get my new comp friday even tho I have seen him almost every day this week haha. umm his name is Elder Davis and he is my 3rd comp in a row who is from idaho (including elder burrup my MTC comp) so I guess its either my blessing or my curse.

haha so unfortunately I really have very little to write about this week just cause I didnt really do much except go to church meet with member families and watch Cox pack his bags. well I guess the one exciting thing was I was sick this week haha. I got sick on sunday and am still feeling some of the ill effects but the biggest problems are gone. today we went to the GIANT market in center. they have alot of crazy stuff there. all I bought today was a CCCP (USSR) belt but there are a few things I will go back and buy at some point. yea I've decided on P days not to carry very much of my personal money just cause if you have it you might do something silly like spend it. but if I go with very little I get the small things I want and then if I REALLY want some thing I have to go back a week later and get it. and if I actually put that much effort into it it means I REALLY want it. So at some point I'll go back and buy the CCCP zip jacket cause its flipping sweet haha.So I'm sorry for anybody who was expecting an uplifting and amazing spiritual renewal from this letter but it just wasnt in the cards for this week thanks to transfers and Cox leaving. But next week I'm trying to work a few things out so we can visit some promising people we'll see if it works I'll let you know next week. lol ugh this week has just killed me haha but next week should be a lil more consistent and hopefuly I can actually get some work done! but anyway thats fun to hear that caitlin is getting crazy big and all mobile and stuff! and also good to hear that Manthers has a place to channel her energy too haha. I miss you all and hopefuly next week when I am feeling better and have some more actual missionary work to write about my letter will be more exciting haha.

take care!

Ct Ctat


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hello World (7/18/07)

July 18, 2007

Well first off thanks to you all for writing me it made this week much better :-D so first off I congratulate you all on the wedding and I hope you are all now having good sessions with your psychiatrists to de-stress yourselves haha. As much as it was nice to know I didnt have to work my self to death there doing wedding stuff don't worry I have been killing myself here to get stuff done.So on Sat we had a baptism, our investigator Natasha got baptized (now remember this is the old Natasha, the other two Natashas moved back home for the next few months) So after doing some shuffling we got everything worked out for that and the baptism went great. She had brother Leanide (yea dont know how to spell that in english лианид if any of you know russian) baptize her, She lives with his mother and it was them who originally introduced her to the church so that was really cool to see and its better for her because then the person who baptized her will always be there for her. Unlike me and E. Cox who will soon be gone. So that went really well.well this week is actually E. Cox's last week in Ukraine. exactly a week from today he will be in the Idaho falls airport so this week has been a little interesting. We're still doing missionary work but Cox is a lil trunky so he just acts really weird haha. But we are still meeting our goals for lessons taught and so forth so s'all good. On Saturday (Суббота for that russian scholar out there) Elder Cox is gunna have a Piano concert at the church as his farewell festivities so we've been going to the church to practice for that quite a bit and yesterday after doing that and meeting with one of our converts (Christina) we headed out to Natasha's (our other convert) to give her a new member lesson and when we got there she had brought her daughter to meet with us (she has been a member for TWO DAYS and she brought her daughter...AMAZING!) her daughter is in her late 20s early 30s and has two beautiful daughters of her own who are 7 and 4 (well will be 4 in august). So instead of teaching just about families and eternal marriage like we had planned we taught a first lesson (Apostasy restoration and Book of Mormon) but taught it from a little bit of a different angle and talked alot about how because of the restoration families can be eternal. that really hit home with them because just a year ago (almost exactly...about a year and week) Natasha's husband died. So it was a really good lesson and I'm sure we'll be able to meet with both of them again since Natasha is our newest member! so that was cool.

Now...time to check if there is anything I need to respond to from letters. Oh Kels you asked in your last letter if I could send these directly to you. well obviously I did this time but also I had been sending them to Kev. If he hasnt been getting them let me know so I can fix the address and if he has been getting them and not showing them to you kick him in the face. (but not till after you finish getting unpacked because you prolly need his help...actually you should prolly at least hold out till your not wobbling around any more but as soon as you get an opportunity). Mom it was deff nice to hear from you again and pretty please let me know if you figure out when you are going to move, and if you need to hold off for a while and stay and take care of lauren for me by all means feel free ;-) But I do need to tell the mission office when you are moving and stuff so yea that would be cool. And for all you who get to spend time with my cute neices and nephew news about them is always valued :-D umm ok is there anything I forgot. Umm Missions are good you should all go. Trials are miserable but they're worth it. Families are amazing and teaching about them every day can make people trunky haha. umm I think thats about it. As far as my knee it hurts and I'm gunna talk to president about it later when I get a chance k? haha. ok later all

Ct. Ctat (and if you havent figured out why I do that yet старейшина стат would be whats on my tag)

Me Again (7/11/07)

July 11, 2007

Alright so to be totally honest I dont know what to write about this week haha...I was hoping for some cannon fotter (sp?) from ya'll to respond to haha but I didnt get much so this might be kinda short and boring sorry. So my comp is going home in two weeks so he's pretty much all trunked out haha. So real like hard core missionary work isnt really all that previlent right now. We do ALOT of member lessons and we have some fun meeting with some of our more interesting investigators but we haven't done much tracting or contacting (so yea when my next comp gets here we are gunna have alot of work to do). We had most of our investigator pool dry up on us this week cause we had the students all move home (back to either Russia or Lugansk (south of kharkov)) and we had every body else tell us they didnt want to meet with us any more except of course our Investigator Natasha (who no longer needs designation since she's the only natasha we have left) who is still on track to get baptized this weekend. So pretty much the next three days are gunna be alot of preparations for that. I did go on a split last fri that was fun. I was out in Novie doma (yea dont know how to spell that in english) but the fun thing was I got to teach english while I was out there. I really enjoyed the students out there and we just had alot of fun. It was kinda funny after class tho cause the students came up to me and asked if I was gunna be there next week :-/ haha So I told them I teach in Center Kharkov and told them I could come but they all told me I should just come out and teach there haha it was funny. but yea my week is really not that interesting sorry :-/. I should have a baptism to write about next week so that should be cool but umm...yea it would deff help if I had stuff to respond from my family...theres now 11 adults in that family if all of you write me 10 words thats 110 words which would be about the same number I got all this week from my family (dad would be the only one) I know from Lauren (who does write me) that the wedding was uber stressful and alot was very last minuet...I get that. But hey I'm a missionary and somehow, amazingly, I find some time to write so just a thought. I'd love to hear from ya'll

Ct. Ctat

Cool News (7/4/07)

July 4, 2007

Ok so first off I hope all my family is having way to much fun at steves wedding and I am super jealous I cant be there :-( but some cool things are happening here and I need to write about them so here we go.first off is something I forgot to write about last week and its pretty much the coolest news ever so...yea I was just really distracted last week. But the news is THEY STARTED THE KIEV TEMPLE!!! The original announcement was in 1998 but both because we were having government problems and the fact that there werent alot of memebers here they hadn't started it until last week (two saturdays ago to be exact) they only had 110 people at the ground breaking just to keep it low profile and they only told those people (110 of them) that it was even going to happen. but yea it should be done in 3-5 years and then the Ukrainians from my mission wont have to take a FIFTY HOUR BUS RIDE through 3 countries just to get to the temple so that will be amazing!So my other really exciting news that just happened this week (on thurs) is we have another Investigator on date!!! her name is Natasha (yes we teach 4 people named natasha)and she'll be baptised July 14th. She lives with a memeber of the church and is about 60ish, she's had no problem accepting what we taught and seeing as she lives with a member she has been following the commandments for the last year by default. So that should be REALLY exciting. Ok so the last really exciting thing as far as missionary work goes is we had 3 investigators to Sacrement meeting this week which was a first. We had Natasha who is getting baptised, Natasha the ribiata artist, and her friend Julia (ee-you-lia) so that was fun. ok So now a few funny things. first happened while we were tracting. it was my turn and I rang this door and the bell button got stuck. with alot of doors that wouldnt really matter cause all it does is activate a single tone and then stops but just my luck this door had like a real bell attached to it. (like the ones that they have in old high schools or in some church buildings) So it was just ringing super loud AND somebody actually answered the door so after trying to yell a first lesson over the sound of the bell (and getting an angry babooshka to slam the door in my face) I finally pulled out my knife on my keys and unjammed the bell but by this point it had been ringing for over 5 mins and like neibourghs (ok cant spell deal with it) had started coming out wondering what was going on and why the bell wouldnt stop. so after I unjammed it we just decided we needed to move onto another padezd (stair case)alright so the other funny thing. our new member Christina has a calling. She is the second councilor in the Young womens. normally that wouldnt be funny but we dont have any young women who attend. so her the president and the first councilor just sit and teach eachother during 3 hour. cool young womens huh? haha but what ever at least all of them attend for 3 hours thats amazing in and of it self. ok one more funny thing I almost forgot. So on friday our branch had "culture night" (or lack there of) and so we went to the Kharkov Philharmonic building for a vocal showcase put on by the instructors at the school there...umm was HORRIBLE! Haha not only were there no real instroments (it was all recordings) but the people that sang were terrible especially when they sang in english (which they did 3 times) they sang "Memory" from Cats and "Hello Dolly" (and if you cant figure out what thats from just ring your little bell and tommy will come back and hit you in the head with a tack hammer cause you are a MORON) so that was really akward. all the branch members came up after and were like "did you like it?" so of course we had to lie through our teeth and say it was wonderful...haha SOO akward but yea that was about all that happened this week.I hope you all are enjoying your self. Once again I am super jealous of you all who are going out to steves wedding! I miss you all and am sure you'll have a wonderful week.

Ct Ctat.

YAY Zone Conference!

June 28, 2007

Alright so first off I should explaine why you are getting this thursday instead of wednsday. So this week we have zone conf (actually bi-zone conf for all of kharkov) so we all have to get interviews with president. So because president didnt get here until today they moved our p-day to thurs so we wouldnt waste a prosiliting day doing inverviews. so yea thats about all about that. Now for my life...So this week has actually been pretty uneventful (and VERY wet) its been raining alot here which of course makes the bottom of my pants just look amazing (as well as my shoes but their already shot). So I've decided I'm pretty much wearing one of the two black pairs of pants I have everyday except sunday when I wear one of my other suits cause if I destroy my black pants I can get knew ones (yay for missionary mall 2-year guarentee :-D). but yea thats made our activites, like tracting and getting out to our contacts who live 10000 miles away, alot of fun. But something pretty cool did happen this week. We actually had too many people to meet with for once, cool eh? We are trying to set up splits with the branch members but if thats difficult to do in the US missions its miserable here where you only have 6-9 priesthood holders. So we are learning the importance of schedualing but our area is huge and everybody in the country works during the day so everybody wants to meet with us between 630 fun. Ok so now a lil update on some of the people you've been hearing about. So first off Christina is doing really well. Her family situation is much better now, her mom actually asked her last week about her baptism and asked her some other questions about it and then told her that she was very sorry that she reacted the way she did and said she was glad that christina had found something that made her happy and said "I wish something like that could happen with me but it cant" hopefully christina will work on that and we'll have a new investigator in a few monthes ;-) Now you've also heard quite a bit about our ribbiata that we teach. So it started out as pretty much just Natasha (the artist), and her boyfriend (who is no longer her boyfriend) Michael, and then others who would randomly be there and randomly not (zhenya, natasha (#2), anton). Natasha (the artist) and Michael are actually not moving very much. We still teach them regularly but they arent coming to church and natasha only reads every once in a while, while michael doesnt read at all. But about a week and a half ago we started meeting regularly with Natasha (#2), who originaly told us she was an athiest. But has since actually gotten very interested in what we have been teaching her and asks some AMAZING questions. Its actually very enjoyable (wow such a russian way of saying that) to teach lessons to her because of how interested she is in what we say and how she picks it apart with questions so you KNOW she really is interested in understanding it all. so that was really cool to have her really express that to us this week. So the OTHER interesting person we started meeting with this week we actually met through trackting again and his name is Michael he is like 85 (or so) and actually is still VERY sharp. He lives with his wife (whos name I cannot remember right now) and they are both just old classical russians, which we knew pretty early on since they were so excited to have visitors. His wife is lossing her hearing and she has diabetes (altho I doubt she knows that) so her eyes are not very workable and her feet are in very bad shape. But Michael is actually served in the Soviet Army during WWII and was part of the forces that defended Kharkov. (which was actually a very important and sad battle that most americans will never hear about) it was acually because of that that he moved, after the war, to Kharkov cause he fell in love with the city. But he was very interesting to talk to about his life and his family. We gave him a book of mormon and he told us all he does is read and that he was really excited to have somebody give him something to read especially since we promised it could make him and his family happy. So that was way cool...there are certain people you meet here you would never have a chance to anywhere else.But yea thats about all the exciting news for this week. I hope all like billion people that are getting my forwards are doing well haha. Thanks for all that are writing to me its SOO nice to hear news from home and all you who are gunna be involved in steves wedding I expect a full report! haha take care!

Ct Ctat

p.s. So ma if you get a chance (and your email starts working again) a copy of your lassagna recip would be MUCH appreciated :-D but no hurry.

Wahoo I'm Popular!

June 13, 2007

Alright so first off (to the bore of all of you who are not my family)some admin stuff first! Ok so I FINALLY rememberd to get those numbersand addresses if you ever send me stuff. So the first one is called"Roxolana" and is at 300 Parker ave. Maplewood NJ 07040 and their numberis 973 763 8778. The second one is "Lviv Express" they're at 1111Elizabeth Ave. Linden NJ 07036 and the numbers is 908 925 0717 so itsays on the little paper I got you just have to call them and they willsend you the info you need to send stuff out. Also if you do send stuffis HAS to be valued (on the shipping label) for under $90 (and actuallywould be better if it was around $50) otherwise the Mission has to payduty on it and will just send the package home (yea NOT cool!) so if youdo decide to send stuff, btw, I had a black and blue Underarmor hat backhome that would be sweet but I dont need it so if you ever send stuffjust throw it in. alright thats all of the boring stuff now for thisweek.So first off last P day! we went to the Ukraine v. Armenia medalisttournament soccer match (under 21 leauge). pretty much it was redic!haha it was so much fun. bunch of crazy Ukrainians chearing on theirteam and 30 americans chearing too cause we think we're adopted. but itwas way fun I took alot of pics but I forgot my camera today so I'llpost them next week when I get a chance. But it was a way fun game wewon 4-0 and we stood in the stadium dancing with the Ukrainians till thecops made us leave.Thursday and I went on a split with my zone leader elder call and wewent a visited some of our investigators (our ribbiata) and we aretrying to get them to really feel how important our message is and howimportant it is they act on it so we taught them a really good lessonpretty much re-doing the first lesson. but the next part is what wasfun! we did contacting (which up till now I havent done just cause mycomp has never liked it or been good at it) So we played some gamesaying things that the other person had to do on the next contact andstuff so it was alot of fun! friday we had another split cause my compsold companion was leaving for the US on sunday so we split and I spendthe day with frioux (ok I'm so getting my week all confused in my headbut thats cool) so now that I have bored you all here is some fun stuff.1) since I've been here (and I keep forgetting to tell you) I have beenthe ward choirester cause nobody in our entire branch knows how to leadmusic. so I am leading but I'm also trying to find somebody to teach todo it for when I leave. but yea its kinda funny cause now I lead foreverything...sacrement, priesthood, baptisims, they would prolly make medo it in relief society if they could find a dress to fit me....but yeaso thats been interesting. also today we had a real good american picnicwith the missionaries. shishcabobs (sp?) and pineapple and all types ofgood stuff so that was REALLY fun and I will also put pics of that upwhen I get a chance.Now to dad your question about my knee...does it hurt? yes...everydayhaha but I am surviving and I'm not letting it slow me down. Me and mycomp always have more lessons than the average in the mission and weusually have more progressing investigators than most our mission so wework really hard and we go home beat almost every day (except sundayscause we get to sit and do nothing for 3 hours YAY!) but yea, it doeshurt and I hate that it does but I cant really change it so I just work.Now the reason for the subject of the e-mail is I've heard I am gettingpretty good distribution on the letters I send home which is pretty dangcool. So just for a sec (and in connection with what I just said) I wantto write a lil to anybody who is getting this who is preparing for amission. The truth is almost every missionary at some point becomes ahumble missionary. The difference is this humility comes in differentways for all of us. some missionaries are naturally that way, they workhard and are obident not cuase they expect something or want glory butbecuase they know they should. Others come into missionary work thinkingthey know how to do it best, they too become humbled, but its alot moredifficult. I Dont know who's getting this and I dont know where you areserving but you will have things that are difficult. but thosedifficulties will be alot easeir to bear if you are humble and arewilling to ask that those burdens be borne by somebody who already hastaken them upon himself. It might be you serve some where with adifficult language, its hard, and frustraiting to not understand whatsgoing on. but be humble. you might not have understood the rigors ofmissionary work, its the second word that often gets over looked,"work". but be humble. You might be very good with gospel knowledge andteaching, you can learn more. be humble. When you become and instromentthat can be used for good instead of trying to be the master craftsmanis when you really do the work you are being sent for. good luck to youall.Thats it for me this week. I hope everything is well for all of you whoare getting this. I hope to hear from alot of you next week.

Ct Ctat.

p.s. I have two more e-mails you should add to the list and thanks :-D