Archive for November, 2010

Start of My 2nd Transfer!

Man, does time fly. I can’t believe I have already been in Ukraine for 6 whole weeks. It is crazy. Last week was a very good one to end the transfer with. We had our zone Thanksgiving celebration in Kherson at the Webb’s apartment. It was absolutely wonderful. Marvelous. Exquisite. Nothing like a home cooked meal ๐Ÿ™‚ Sister Webb said that she felt like she had kids again and was back home, so that was kind of depressing, but it was a great day in general. Elder Sarkisian has this whole plan of how he needs 3 sons and 1 daughter, and what their names will be. And when he explained that, she said that she would have to teach him a biology lesson about the birds and the bees, and she wanted him to let her know how that worked out. It was super funny.

Also last Monday, we had a lesson with Vania. He is now officially on date to be baptized on the 11th! He didn’t come to church yesterday so it will be pushed back to the 18th, but he is making a lot of progress and doing very well. It has been a great morale booster. We mostly have been working with inactive members, and we have gotten 3 guys to start coming to church, which has been very good. The branch only has two Melchizidek Priesthood holders in addition to the missionaries, so if we get them going, it would really help a lot!

We also had a Thanksgiving celebration as a district on Thursday. It was way good, we made chicken and mashed potatoes, and had vegetables and bread. We didn’t do too shabby if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ™‚ It was sort of a depressing day, because I was missing home and my friends a lot, but I’m sure that I will survive.

I am also very excited for this week because I will get to go to Simferopol! We have zone conference on Wednesday, Elder Lawrence from the Area Presidency will be speaking to us. It should be very good. I’m also very excited to see everyone and catch up. We leave tomorrow, and have a 10 hour bus ride, which I am NOT looking forward too, but it will be a party once we get there. Some of the people I will get to see, will be Elder Cook and Elder Takagi. Who are they you might ask? They are two of the missionaries in the group younger than me, meaning I AM NO LONGER THE MISSION BABY! It is a great feeling to finally be a toddler and somewhat more grown up (and maybe sophisticated?) haha. I am very very excited to go to the Crimea for the first time.

As for the weather, it is getting colder, it has been rainy the last few days, but still no snow. The coldest it has been has been about 7 (CELSIUS….not Farenheit. haha) so it isn’t too bad.

On Saturday, we went to a cultural concert, it was so dang cool! Vania played the drums in it, and the music (especially the accordian solo) was amazing. They had some weird instruments, that I don’t even know what any of them are called, but it was way sweet music.

I finished reading the Book of Alma this week, and it was excellent, as usual. I love the war chapters espeically. Here are some things I (re)noticed:

1. Captain Moroni is a G. His entire strategy was to make preparations and always be strengthening yourself for when the battle does happen. Very, very good life advice. One of the things he says, in Alma 59:9, is that he knows it will be easier to retain the city, than to let it go and have to fight to get it back. The point is, it is always easier to just not sin. It is always easier to never start doing things you shouldn’t than to do them and try to correct your behavior after bad habits are formed.

2. The Strippling Warriors are also amazing. They were focused, dilligent, believing, and courageous. They had never fought before, and when it came down to it, not a single one of them died. This was in thanks to their buying into the system. They never doubted, they always worked, and they had faith. When they got into the heat of it, they were prepared for what they needed to do.

Just a thought for you all. Also, congratulations to my brother, Kyle, who will be going to St. Louis to do his residency!

Elder McClintock

Hello from…..Kherson!

So I am at an internet club in Kherson right now. All of the missionaries in Nicolaev took a train over here this morning, our whole zone is meeting up and having a Thanksgiving dinner at the Senior Couple’s apartment. I am very excited for a great, American, festivity filled meal. It will be lots of fun.

This week was much, much, much, better than the last. I had a lot more success with the language. It was by far my best speaking week since I have been here. I also learned more vocabulary this week than any other of my mission so far, so that was also grand. We had a very successful week as well which was good.

We have been teaching this guy named Javier, who is an American from Washington. He investigated the church a while ago, and he was just visiting Ukraine to check it out. He did a study abroad program in Russia about a decade ago, so he decided to come check out Ukraine. He is very adament that it isn’t a coincidence that he ran into us on the street, and that he knows it means something. He is a very religious guy, and quite the talker. One of our lessons with him started with him just talking for an hour about his day, it was pretty crazy, but it was good. Friday we had an especially good lesson with him. He had had a very rough day, and just things were not going well at all. We just talked to him about the Book of Mormon, and I promised him that if he read, he would find an answer. We also talked to him about the Priesthood, and how it was restored through Joseph Smith, and by using that priesthood, we could give him a blessing if he would like. We gave him a blessing, and it was just all around a great lesson.

Yesterday at church was very good as well. I understood pretty much everything in Sacrament meeting, which was very nice. We also had a lesson with Ivan, a guy we have met with a few times, but haven’t been able to get a hold of lately. I can’t remember if I told y’all about him before, so I will give the rundown. He is 19, plays the drums in a band, served in the Navy here, and drinks and smokes. Basically your average Ukrainian teenager. The first time we met with him, we gave him a Book of Mormon. We met with him the next day, and he had read the first 175 pages. When we met with him last night, he said he had finished reading it, and knew it was true, and had started to reread it. He also said that he stopped drinking, because reading just made him feel like he shouldn’t drink any more. We are meeting with him again tonight, and are going to talk to him about smoking, and about the addiction recovery program the church has. It is a great way to cap off an even better week.

Transfer calls were on Saturday, well a text actually. President just sensd everyone a text saying "These are the people who will be transferred…" with a list of names. Tomorrow, another text will go out with the assignments for the following transfer. I will be with Elder Berndt for six more weeks. I am very excited. The first few weeks of the transfer were rough, we didn’t really get along very well, but things have gotten a lot better, and we are doing very well together. Sister Burrows is leaving Nicolaev though, so we will have a new sister coming here on Thursday. So we will find out tomorrow who that will be!

One thing about Ukraine that is very different is the amount of wild dogs. I see dogs fighting almost every day, and there are just packs of them running around everywhere. It is very interesting. We were doing service on Saturday, cleaning up a park, and two members came to help us. Along with them were about 7 dogs who just kept following them around for 2 hours, it was really really funny.

Well that is about it for the week, enjoy your Thanksgiving, and don’t have too much fun without me ๐Ÿ™‚

Elder McClintock

PS. Happy Birthday to James P. Harris Jr., My R.A. from school who turns the ripe age of 23 today!

Nice and Sunny in ะะธะบะพะปะฐะตะฒ!

Man, I suck at typing in Russian. That took my like 45 seconds to find all of the keys. Haha. So yeah, it is 70 degrees, and sunny here right now. So much for Ukraine being freezing cold. Everyone here is still wearing their giant jackets, so I am thinking it is a myth perpetuated by the fact that people here wear snow jackets when it’s stinking 70 degrees. haha.

This week was a hard one for me. I didn’t feel very good all week, leading up to me feeling awful all day yesterday. After church we came home to eat lunch, and I went and laid down (at 4 oclock)…and woke up at 6:30 this morning. Pros: I’m not sick anymore. Cons: I slept through half of a day. I feel very unproductive right now. Also, I struggled with the language a lot this week. It seemed like everything that I studied just wouldn’t stick. It was sooooo frustrating. Trying to talk to people and use the words I just spent an hour going over, and I couldn’t remember them at all. I wanted to shoot myself. I’m going to attribute it to being sick because I am too selfish and prideful to let myself think I couldn’t memorize a few words ๐Ÿ™‚

There is a little restaurant right across the street from the branch that is wayyy good. And ridiculously cheap. I usually get a big bowl of borsch, 2 slices of bread and a bottle of juice, for a whopping total of 12 grn. Soooo much food for $1.50. It’s amazing. We basically have about 40 grn a day to spend, and we can afford to eat amazing Ukrainian food everyday, so it’s a win for everyone!

Last Monday, we went to Svetlana’s for FHE again, and had it with her and two of her sons. I understood a lot more than I did last time, so that was good, I guess I might be catching on a little bit.

Tuesday was Elder Sarkisian’s birthday, and his mom found out that some of his extended family lives here in Nicolaev, so he has been talking to them, and started teaching them in Armernian. They live outside the city, and they got permission to go to their house to teach them/eat dinner and what not, so that is pretty exciting. He goes home the middle of next transfer, so that wouldn’t be a bad way to "die" for him; getting to baptize a bunch of his relatives! On Tuesday, Elder Berndt and I also made a gigantic pot of borsch. It was soooo good. It really does get better each day too. It is super cheap too, which makes it even better. I’ll have to show everyone how to make it when I get home. Maybe when I’m back in Provo, we will have Borsch every Sunday and I’ll invite everyone over, haha. Make it a tradition of sorts!

Thursday, we discovered, that as of last week, THEY SELL OREOS IN UKRAINE! It was like Christmas, they aren’t double stuffed, but they will suffice. Man, it was so good. I don’t know if I have said this yet, but on Thursday nights, we have FHE at the branch, for all of the investigators. So at FHE on Thursday, we tried explaining what Veteran’s day was, and Elder Condie and I kept bursting into Patriotic songs, it was pretty funny.

Nothing really happened on Friday, and Saturday was when I REALLY started to feel sick, so that was no fun. We also got dogged on 2 of our lessons, bringing it to batting .000 for the last two weeks with investigators. Which is super frustrating/annoying/disappointing/depressing/not fun in general.

Saturday, though, I did get two letters, which was marvelous. Mail and Emails make us missionaries happier than a little kid on Christmas morning. I got a letter from Alex Hoeft, and Jon Chichoni. They are both doing well which was good. The letter from Jon made me think a lot about really how spread out I am from all of my friends, and how we are all serving all over the world. And that made me very happy! have friends serving in every liveable continant, and pretty much every country in North and South America. It’s just crazy how awesome of a work I get to be apart of.

I heard that the U got destroyed by TCU, and lost again to Notre Dame. That made me very, very happy. haha. If we can beat them at the end of the month, I’ll be okay with having a terrible season ๐Ÿ™‚

Elder McClintock

A Baptism!

So basically, this week was awesome. Inga, one of the sister’s investigators got baptized, she is great. We went to turn the font on Friday night to start filling it up, but there was no water. So we went back at 5 on Saturday morning. Still nothing. So we just left it on and hoped it would start sometime before we came back. We came back at 9, adn there was still nothing. The baptism was supposed to start at 12, and we couldn’t figure out what was going on. All of the sudden, we were like "Hey, where are Elder Sarkisian and Elder Condie?" Then they showed up with the Nicolaev city fire department! Haha, Elder Sarkisian told them he would give them 100 griven (roughly $12.50 US) to come fill up the font. The water was a nasty green color, but it only took them 3 minutes to fill up. I’ll send pictures!. She is a way funny girl, she plays on the basketball team here in Nicolaev. I guess here sister played at Rice, and now is playing pro ball in France? So that is pretty sweet! She is the really tall girl next to me in the picture!

So some good flavors of Herbal Tea if you are interested:

Greenfield (brand)
-Honey Rooibus
– Summer boquet

Ahmad
– Wild Strawberry
– cinnamon roobius

Tess
-Glory

They are all UK brands I believe, I don’t know if you can find them in the states, but they are all way good.

So I have been very diligent in my diet since I have been here, and I have lost a lot of weight, I’m going to have by a new belt soon, I’m on the tightest setting! haha. I think total since I went into the MTC, I have lost about 20 pounds or so. This bed ridden member we visit on Sundays said she is worrying about me because I have gotten so much thinner! haha. That made me feel pretty good about myself ๐Ÿ™‚

So they have these things here, called pirochkey (peer-rich-key). Basically, they are stuffed scones, and are amazing. Garlic mashed potatoes are the best. they make mashed potatoes, plop some on some dough, fold and pinch it shut then fry it. SOOOOOOO goood. They also have pomegranate-rasberry yogurt here. Simply amazing.

I got four letters this week when people went to Dnepr, I guess there is some more that just got there, so I have heard, so maybe I’ll get that this weekend, because Sister Burroughs is doing her visa trip to Bulgaria so she should have a chance to stop by the office.

Hahahaha, so the AP’s are getting a new apartment, because some people moved in upstairs, and they "work" at night, and it is loud and distracting hahaha. I hope you all caught the drift of the type of "work" the girls that live above them do. hahaha.

That is pretty much it, I don’t really have much else to say, life is good. The language is picking up, I understand the gist of almost every conversation now, so I’m getting a lot more comfortable. I just have to work hard and ride it out, I know it takes time. Curse you time, always making my dreams get derailed temporarily.

Peace and Blessings,

Elder McClintock

Pictures:

Me adn the fire truck
The nice green baptismal font
All of us after the baptism, celebrating by eating at McDonalds.

Pitcures!

So Nicole is the only one who sent me pictures! Come on people! How am I supposed to remember you if I don’t have pictures! haha.

Week 3 in Ukraine!

So this upcoming week will be crazy. There is a training meeting in Dnepr, so I will be on splits with Elder Condie all week, since we are the junior companions in our city, but I’m way excited. Okay time to get on to the good stuff!

One of the girls that the sisters are teaching is getting baptized on Saturday! Her name is Inga, and she plays basketball here in Nicolaev. She loves Kobe, and is hysterically funny. I’m glad that she is getting baptized, because she is the life of the party at every branch function.

Our investigators are doing well. Mike, one of the Nigerian guys is moving to Kherson next week, so we will have to pass him to the Elders over there, but maybe if he gets baptized we will be able to go, it is only 50 KM away. We are also meeting with a guy named Nicolai, he works in a village outside of town, and is only in town for a few days a month, so it is difficult, but he is making progress. We also got a new investigator last night! We found his contact in the area book and called him and he wanted to meet. So on Saturday we met, gave him a Book of Mormon, and asked him to read. We didn’t think the lesson went well at all, he was very critical of everything, and it just was going to well. Then he called us yesterday, and asked when we could meet, and asked to meet with us last night. So we did, and in the one day he had read up to Mosiah 17. Holy Cow. He was a lot less critical of everything, and asked to meet with us again on Wednesday. He smokes 2 packs a day, but wants to quit, so we will try to get him started on the Addiction Recovery Program soon.

I can’t believe I have already been gone for three months. It’s already November. That is just crazy. Time goes by soooooooooooo fast.

A funny thing happened on Friday. Elder Berndt was making calls, and I was defrosting our freezer. When I opened the door to see how it was going, THE DOOR FELL OFF! That was pretty funny. The entire bottom hinge had just rusted straight off. We called our hazaika (landlady) and she came over and just started laughing. It is supposed to be fixed today, so we will have a fridge again!

On Friday night, we went to this restaurant called "Potato House" (In Ukrainian, of course) because they had "Burritos". He was the contents of my burrito (which was slightly bigger than a hot pocket): Three or four tiny peices of chicken, spinach, white sauce (yes, as in what you put on pasta), a ton of mushrooms, giant slices of tomato, and a CUT UP HARD BOILED EGG! and the hot sauce I bought for it, was smetana (sour cream) mixed with a ton of chili powder. I wanted to go to the kitchen and let me show them how you make a real burrito, but they wouldn’t let me. Welcome to Ukraine Elder McClintock.

I heard Chiddy Bang on the radio on a marshootka (shuttle buses that run on a set route, it’s how everyone gets around here). It made me really "trunky" (homesick) for all of my friends from school. Then I thought again about how we are literally all over the world, doing best thing ever, so I got over it…sorta. I’m starting to forget the words to songs, so it is fustrating when members ask me about American music and I can’t remember either how a song goes or the title of it.

For service this week, we sang hymns at a Russian Orthodox old folks’ home. They were really funny, and were way nice. I’ll put up some pictures from the last few weeks and you can see them. There is one guy who was a general back in the USSR, and he is super funny. He is delierious, and not very coherent, but he sure liked us a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

I got a haircut on Saturday. I didn’t intend to, but Sister Burrows was cutting Elder Conie’s and Elder Sarkisian’s hair, and one of the members, Anna, was there and wanted to try cutting hair, so I said she could try cutting mine. It’s not the best haircut I have ever gotten, but it could be worst….haha. It took her like and hour and a half, because she was super scared to do anything.

Since coming here, I have absolutely come to LOVE herbal tea. Everybody here has a "chainik". They are these pitcher counter-top appliance things that boil water in just under a minute or so. Every week after church all of the members have a cup of chai together. My favorite flavor so far is rasberry pomegranate with some other stuff, but I can’t remember what. It is way good.

I also wear a scarf everyday. They are just so dang classy. I do thoroughly enjoy them.

That is about it for the week, I hope you all are doing well. Please keep sending the love my way, I need all the prayers I can get.

Elder McClintock