The past week has been a little crazy. All that has happened in the past week: a new companion, visa trip to Ukraine, awesome dinner at a member's house, and speciaized training for the zone.
So first off I had my first visa trip to Ukraine! It was amazing and Kiev was a cool city. Most importantly, we were able to go to the Kiev temple. Our day began at 4:00am when Sister Thrall and I woke up and took showers. The driver picked us up at 5am. It was funny because we had just whipped up cups of herbal tea and I turned to Sister Thrall and said, "You know now that we have tea the driver is going to call any second. Sure enough, I took my first sip and the phone rang. The six of us headed off to the airport (Sister Thrall, Elder Black, Elder Campbell, Elder Hamp, Elder Francom and me). In Kiev we met our driver who took us to the temple and around Kiev. We barely made the 10:30 session at the temple but I was grinning the entire time. I felt such great peace and I hadn't realized how much I missed going to the temple until I was there. I had headphones to listen in English but I listened in Russian too. I was surprised by how much I understood.
Afterwards, our driver took up to an Ukrainian restuarant. Soooo good! On accident Elder Hamp grabbed a plate of liver and onions. Of course, all the elders tried a piece and I decided to try a bite with them. Yuck! It took a few minutes to finally shallow my piece.
Then our driver, a member of the Church, turned to us and said, "Next I want to show you where President Packer [of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles] dedicated this land for missionary work." We responded, "Konyeshna, duhvai (of course, let's)". President Packer dedicated Ukraine right by the statue of King Vladimir. And at the time he promised the Ukrainians that Ukraine would have many temples. Actually, Ukraine was the first country to have a temple announced where there was no stake.
All in all Kiev was great. It was great to be with the missionaries I arrived in Moscow with. Although we were not all in the same zone in the MTC we all hit it off great. We think we would be an awesome district. We talked about the mission and where we all are. By the time we left we had all uplifted each other's spirits.
I mentioned last week that I was going to get a new companion and now I have her. She is great. Her name is Sister Shannon Carlson from American Fork, UT. She is engaged and will be getting married after her mission. She will hit her year mark on the mission during this transfer. I am really excited to work with her. Her Russian grammar is not the greatest but she makes up for it in spiritual power and love. Her first Sunday she went up to everyone and talked to everyone. She wants to be exactly obedient and we have been going through the mission handbook again together so we can be obedient. She knows that Russian is hard for her and it takes her a long time to learn but she does not let that stop her. Together we are studying grammar since that is my strong point and she is helping me with vocab. Oh, and she loves contacting. She has a lot of traits that I hope to acquire and I am really excited for this transfer and what we will accomplish. And neither of us know who is the senior companion. She thought I was and I thought she was so our companionship has an interesting dynamic.
We have not met with many investigators this past week with everything that has been going on. So far we met with one less active girl and we had dinner with a member family on Monday for Family Home Evening. That was an adventure! They will in a city that requires us to get permission from our legal lady first because we could get in serious trouble since we are not Russian. Surprising, our lawyer gave us permission so long as the member picked us up from the train station, we don't speak any English, and we don't wear our name tags. We were safe and had a huge dinner of bortsh and burritos. The elders came with us since they teach the daughter's boyfriend. The mom was so nice and when she found out about my mom she said she would be my "Russan mother".
I did hear about Tamara from her member friend. Appartently, after our lesson she became eally excited and started doing a lot of service for her church. Of our investigators she is the only one really making progress. She wants to take my companion and I souvenir shoppin sometime next week.