Hello from the Big City!

So I must tell you, that I absolutely love Dnepropetrovsk. It is absolutely gorgeous. The buildings all have victorian designs, and the streets are cobblestone and brick. There are a lot of people, and a lot of things going on. It is amazing. I also love Elder Hammon. We are working so well together. I found out a little more about him and his family since I have been here (naturally of course). He is a triplet, 2 boys and a girl. He also has a younger sister too. His brother is currently serving in Salvador Brazil. He and his sister went to USU last year, but his brother went to BYU. His dad is an orthopedic surgeon, and went to med school at Tennessee. So far everything has been "cheeky-peeky". There is a Russian phrase for you all to begin using in English 🙂

Transfers were crazy, Elder Ditto (Elder Condie’s new companion in Nicolaev) came at 5 AM Wednesday morning. Oh yeah, Elder Berndt was in Dnepr for a training meeting, so Elder Condie and I were together in Nic. I was back in a 3some for a day. On Thursday, I got on my bus at 9 oclock, and heading to Dnepr. It was verrrryyyyyy strange being alone, haha. It made it more awkward when the lady next to me started breast feeding her baby. Blankets are cheap lady, invest in one. Well, buses go extremely slow here. For the just under 200 mile trip, it took 6 hours and 45 minutes. I had called the APs and told them my plans, and they said they would have someone for me at the bus station. My bus got there at 4 oclock. My ticket said it should arrive at 4:40, so I waiting a bit (it was absolutely FREEZING). I wait, I wait, then I wait some more. Finally at 5:15, I start asking people if I can use their cell phones. Finally this lady lets me, because she had MTC (haha, that is our phone service…ironic) so it would be free to call anyone with a mission phone. I call the APs. No answer. I call my Zone Leader, no answer. Finally, I get a hold of President Nielsen. I told him that I had been outside for an hour and a half and couldn’t get a hold of anyone else, so he said he’d come get me. Just as I got off the phone, Elder Rhodes and Elder Piccolo got off their bus from Poltava. So the 3 of us crammed into President’s car with all of our stuff, and he dropped us off at the APs. He said he would talk to them about making sure there was someone there next time 🙂

All of the greenies also came Thursday. I got to meet all of them because they all slept at the assistants’ apartment. They are a good group. Elder Hammon and I also got to baby sit 3 of them (Elder Ku was with us as well, I really like him a lot, btw.) because there was a zone leaders’ council, and 3 of the 6 have ZLs for trainers. Between the 6 of us, we only had one phone, so we had to all stay together, it made for a fun tour of the city. We took them around to all of the food stands to try a sharma (a grilled chicken wrap sort of thing), pirichki (basically a scone filled with mashed potatoes, or other stuff) etc. etc. They were very shell shocked. It is crazy that I was in their shoes 3 months ago, and I’m closing in on 6 months of my mission gone.

Elder Hammon and I are currently living with the AP’s because we don’t have an apartment. We are hunting, I guess that is the fun of opening an area :). Church was also great, I love the branch. A lot of people recognized me, because they held our culture night the first day I got here. Elder Mills is in my district, so I am very excited to be back with someone from my group. It is unbelievable how much we have both changed, and how much better we speak! The branch president asked me to speak, which was a fun surprise, since it was 10 minutes before church started. I am really starting to feel like I have a grasp on the language, I understand pretty much everything, and in a few cases I have heard a word, known the meaning just out of context, and been able to turn around and use it. I can attribtute all of that to dedicated study, and reading of the Book of Mormon in Russian. Since I began to seriously read it, my language skills have gone through the roof.

That is about it for the week, I hope you are all doing well. I love you all, and miss you (sort of….Ukraine is pretty dang awesome). I will wind up with a thought:

Our goals are the true reflection of our desires. As we set goals, we are aligning ourselves and our plans, with what we want to achieve. To be successful at ANYTHING, we need to set goals, and create a gameplan of how we are going to get there, and then review them regularly to keep us focused on them.

Elder McClintock

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