Hellooooo From UKRAINNNEEEE!!!

Okay, So I paid 9gph for an hour and a half of internet, but the computer (meaning myldsmail) was being uber stupid, so I don’t have a full hour and a half like planned! Oh well!

So the run down!

We got up at 4 AM last Tuesday, because we had to be at the travel office. We were driven up to Salt Lake, then flew to NYC. Our two hour layover seemed very short, considering that we had to go to a whole other terminal, and re-go through security, blah blah blah. It was a pain. Plus, Austrian Airlines was having trouble tracking our bags, and they wouldn’t let us have our bording passes until they were sure that they had received our bags from Delta, who hadn’t put them in the computer yet. Stupid Delta (as always.). The flight to Vienna wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. The plane was in AMAZING shape. It was basically the 20 or so of us going to Ukraine (To Dnepr and Donetsk), and a bunch of Jewish people going to Israel. The plane actually had a little room for them to do their prayer service, that was pretty interesting.

The food on the plane was 5 Stars compared to the MTC. It was really good. And the stewardesses looked like the little people on the Matterhorn at Disneyland. Haha. They litterally brought the drink cart by every 10 minutes. On the plane Elder Walton and I enjoyed a few fine games of Chess and mini-Golf on the little TV. We thought using the on-board phones to call other missionaries from across the plane was just about the most entertaining thing we had ever done, too bad it was $9.95 a minute to call people, otherwise I would have debated call y’all just to say that I did! haha. The text messages were only $1.50, so I figured I would just do that instead of calling in Vienna, since it would be like 20398572845729845 dollars there!

In our layover in Vienna we talked to this girl for like an hour. She works for the State Department, and is moving to Albania to work at the Embassy. She was asking us about studying Russian, because she has to go back to the US and do a 9 month program to learn Albanian. She said the Russian program is 12 months, and we speak better than the people do after a year. Take that world! You can’t stop the gift of tongues!

When we landed in Dnepr, we were met by 2 guys, in full military gear, holding AK-47s who escorted us in immigration. The nice guy at the desk, then proceeded to swear under his breath at me for being American, and coming to Ukraine. Hello to you too ๐Ÿ™‚ We got through customs, and President and Sister Nielsen met us on the other side with the AP’s. They took our stuff back to one of the Branches in Dnepr, and we split up with the AP’s and went contacting. Elder Mills and I were with Elder Stachitus (Who is actually from Ridgecrest?!? haha.) The first lady we talked to was very interested, so we just basically listened to her and Elder Stachitus talk, then she asked why weren’t talking, and then when she realized that we barely knew Russian, she slowed down, and thanked us for trying to understand her native language. It was pretty cool.

From there we went to the AP’s apartment, and just relaxed because we had about 45 minutes until the Ukrainian Culture Night the Center Branch in Dnepr put on for us. It was great, all the members were there, they made us an entire Ukrainian meal, danced, sang traditional songs, it was really fun! Things about food:

Borscht is great, I love it.
Sala (Cured Pig Fat) is the most disgusting thing I have EVER tasted in my life. gag me.
Dinya, is a melon native to Ukraine, it tastes like a cantaloupe crossed with a pear. It’s way good.
The juices here are amazing. They are all organic, with no added sugar and are ridiculously cheap.
They love different types of "Sauce", which are basically all Ketchup, but they aren’t made with Tomatoes, they have other flavors. The best: Paprik, which is made from presh prapika, it’s bell pepper ketchup. Maybe sauce is a better word, it has no tomatoes. Maybe I’ll send you some Drew, I know how you love your paprika ๐Ÿ™‚

We got split up after the dinner/party, Elder Rhodes, Mills and I slept at the AP’s, while Elders Hagee, Walton, Merrick and Hansen slept at the mission home. Thursday, when we got up, we went to have breakfast, and have our initial interviews at the Mission with President Nielsen. The Mission home is just about the sickest thing ever. If you look up at picture of Dnepropetrovsk on google, and find one with the river and two GIANT towers, its in the tower on the left. They are considered the nicest place to live in the City, and the view is amazing (I have attached some pictures!)

So we had our interviews, and I found out that my first area will be Nicolaev! It was a six hour bus ride to there from Dnepr, so I didn’t actually get there until 2 AM Friday morning. It is shaped like a dragon, and was the shipping/naval port for the USSR back in the day. It is a really cool city. My trainer is Elder Berndt. He is an…uh, interesting guy. He is from Fresno, and has been out a year. Lisa, I now understand why you said I was so freaking weird when I was 14. I understand and agree completely.

Our district is great, it’s just the 6 missionaries in our city. It’s me and Elder Berndt, Elder Condie from Parma, ID and his companion Elder Sarkisian from Moldova, and Sister Burroughs from Springville, and a native Sister, Sister Smirnova, who was in the MTC with me for 4 weeks. They are all great. Elder Sarkisian is the funniest person ever, he is a professional comedian, and that is how he paid for his mission was doing stand-up in Moldova. He moved there from Armenia when he was 13, and his family got baptized in Moldova when he was 14. Apparantly Americans butcheor the name Sarkisian, it is supposed to be "Sarkees-YAWN". Haha, he said "Just because there are more Armenians in Los Angeles than in Armenia doesn’t mean they get to change how you’re supposed to say my name!"

Church was good yesterday, There are about 50ish active members in the branch. The problem, though is that there are only two Melchizidek Priesthood holders, so that poses a problem. It is full of old ladies, who all think I’m Armenian? Haha. like 7 out of 10 people I talk to think I am from Armenia, apparantly I have an accent, and look Armenian. Elder Sarkisian even asked me (as well as a sister missionary in our mission from Armenia) if I was part Armenian. It is really weird, but oh well, that’s better than an American accent I guess ๐Ÿ™‚

We have two investigators right now, their names are Micah and Leksi, they are both black, and from Nigeria, and speak English. I basically have all sorts of street cred because I know the two black guys that live in Ukraine. haha.

That’s pretty much it, today is P-Day, and life is going good! I’m still alive and well, and people are starting to sound slower when they talk, so that is good! If you want to send me emails, that would be the best way to get a hold of me, I will only get DearElders anytime someone comes Dnepr, which is basically once a transfer. So yeah. And Kelsey, I just got your letters, that is where they disappeared too…you sent them here instead of the MTC on dearelder. haha.

For packages and written letters, the address is:

Elder Garrett J McClintock
27-A Karla Marksa Ave 5-FL
Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine 49044
Ukraine

That is 100% the write address, I’m not sure if the one I posted before was the exactly written like that, but that is the way to do it!

Thank you for all the support and love and care and all of that good stuff! You are all the best!

Elder McClintock

Notes: The first picture is the view from the Mission Home, the second is our welcome dinner from the members.

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

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