Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Martin Luther King day! Thank you for all your letters this week, thank aunt Liz and Grandma for theirs as well! It is so good to hear about what is going on in your lives. Amanda, you are a cutie:) I can't quite speak fluently yet but I am working on it every day! Emily, you sure looked good in that basketball jersey, I hope I get a chance to play some ball here but we will see. Jessica:) Your temple trip sounded great! And having dad baptize you makes it that much more special. Mom and Dad, your pictures with the Ukrainians were awesome! I am super jealous.

Guess what? We finally had church in our own building. We got a small renovation done on it to make it church standard, but it was all ready for sacrament yesterday. It has three rooms, a hallway and a bathroom. Not to small, but not that big either. We had eight people at church yesterday, four missionaries, three of our investigators, and our faithful member! I gave a talk... ha ha everyone pretty much gives a talk every week! Oh, and I am also the chorister. Its tough because we have no piano, no way to play the music, and only four missionaries who know the tunes of the songs. However, we make do.

One of our investigators is a really cool older woman, who loves everything we have to say about families! She has a wayward son and her husband has passed away. She really loves her son and wishes he would visit every once in a while. She loves to show us pictures and stories of her son and her own childhood. She is big on "Mothers know best." I showed her a picture of Mom and I and she really liked it. She has cooked for us twice. To answer your question about food, it is amazing here. Its hard to explain but everything is good (except meat jello, which I have been fed). She always tells us to make sure to wear our hat's so we don't get cold. We are not sure if we are her grand kids or her missionary's, but either way we are teaching her the gospel. She has even became good friends with our one member. After church yesterday they took us to a Ukrainian Culture festival a short walk away from our church building and gave us a rundown on the history of culture in Uzhhorod! It was so fun.

I had a good week, and I am seeing the blessings of the Lord in everything that I do. I pray for you daily just as I am sure you pray for me. Until next week,


Старйшина Хадфілд

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy New Year!!!!! Once again, I am not going crazy, but today is Ukrainian New Year. We are living it up here, and we said goodbye to the first thirteen days of 2013 with a bang. We went to a city that is close by with permission from the president. It is a joke inside our mission that if you are bad you will get sent to there because it is the farthest city away from Kyiv in our mission. We went there with the intent to spend the whole day there, but to make a long story short they didn't even have an Internet cafe or anything. It was so small. We took two hours and we saw everything there was to see, then we had lunch, then we took a bus back to our area. Plus in the small city we visited, everyone speaks Russian, so the small amount that I normally understand was non-existent.

Last Monday, after I sent you my email, my companion, another companionship and I went to see the castle in our area. Tickets were on sale since it was "Christmas." It was a very pretty castle. Nothing as big as the ones that we went to in Germany, but none the less it was pretty fun. There were a lot of odd statues in the castle, so I posed by all of them and got a lot of really sweet pictures.

The highlight of my week was two 16 hour train rides! Let me explain... There was a leadership meeting at the mission headquarters and my district leader asked me to go on an exchange with him for three days. So we took a train to Kyiv, and while my District Leader was at his meeting I got to go out and talk to people downtown. It is a whole new world in Kyiv. The metro system is just like DC though, so I felt right at home. I even got to go to McDonald's (one of just a few in Ukraine). It tasted so good. The cherry on top was the opportunity to go through the temple. That was actually the first time I had a chance. I just had the most peaceful feeling in the world. I sent you a letter with my train ticket in it, I thought you would like it. It looks pretty cool. Oh, also when I was in Kyiv I got the Christmas package that you sent! It was great. Thank you so very much. Santa knew exactly what I needed in my stocking. I also got some letters from you and others. Oh, and a bunch of letters from the Activity Day Girls from our ward. Please tell them thank you for me. That was very nice of them to do for me.

In other news, we are trying to get some other activities started, to mix up the ways we contact people. One of the ways we thought of was basketball. We found a rec center, with a pretty decent court by Ukrainian standards. We met with the president of the rec center and asked him about using his facilities. He told us that it wouldn't work out, because you have to be a legit team to play there. But he told us we could join any team we wanted and travel all over Ukraine and play basketball with them. He told us "He was super excited for two tall Americans like us to play basketball for him." We didn't feel like breaking his spirits by telling him we were not allowed, so we just left. Oh well, we will find another place to play basketball.

My language is getting better every day. I am studding really hard and talking to the people here all the time. I am starting to understand a lot more, but speaking is still quite a challenge. That is OK, I knew it would not be easy. We had dinner with an investigator the other day and I talked for a little bit. It is not much, but it is progress.

I love you all so much. Until next week!


Elder Hadfield:)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Merry Christmas!

If you think I have gone crazy and forgot what day it is, let me reassure you, I am OK. Today is Ukrainian Christmas. I am not really sure why they have another Christmas, but I am not complaining. It was a semi-white Christmas today. Big white flakes are falling but nothing is sticking so I don't really think it counts for much! I am really sorry about not sending pictures yet, we are still trying to find an Internet cafe that will allow us to use the USB port to send things. I will do my best to be able to send some home next week.

In Ukraine, Christmas eve is a pretty big deal. Last night my companion and I decided to go caroling. We went door to door and sand songs. Sometimes we would switch of and sing in English (on a funny note some of the English songs we sang were "if you could hie to kolob" and "we thank thee o God for a prophet"). They people we sang to loved it and thought we were great! Then after we finished singing we would give them a family proclamation. They took it happily and thanked us. I felt some pretty strong Christmas Spirit last night. Which seems weird because it is already January, but I am not going to question it. We did run into a few problems though... In Ukraine it is customary to give carolers money, which obviously we aren't allowed to accept. This one family was so adamant about it that they forced us to take some money. So we decided we will find someone who is homeless and buy food for them with our caroling money.

Good News! We found a church building! What a relief... Like I said, my companion and I had been doing some major hunting for a building all week, and all of the sudden a building just fell into our laps, that is perfect for what are needs are at this time. The land lady is super nice, and willing to help us get the place ready. We are allowed to start using it on the 15th of January. It has a great location in the middle of town, right next to a castle and a big cathedral. The funny part about the whole thing is that we didn't find the building through our own efforts. It was a miracle from God that just came to us. I am reminded of a scripture in Moroni (excuse me, I only have my Ukrainian scriptures with me right now), where Moroni says something to the effect of "you only receive the miracles after the trial of your faith. We have been showing our faith by doing our best to find a building, and a miracle came. Speaking of miracles, we have seen countless this week. I really wish I had time to type them all out:(

This might seem odd, but would you mind sending me the nutrition facts of Honey? My companion and I love the Honey here. It is way different from the stuff that we get back home and we ate a whole tub of it last night with dinner ha ha. OK, it was a smaller container, but still! We are pessimistic that it is good for us because it tastes so good! We also go through milk like crazy. Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by that. We joke around a lot that we could really use the promise in the Book of Mormon of "Milk and Honey without price." Speaking of food, I am learning to cook some really great Ukrainian food. Mom, I know I didn't want them when I was at home, but I would would send me some fun recipes I will use them for sure:) Vegetables are dirt cheap here, so anything with that would be great! You can use your discretion with what recipes to send!

I loved all of your letters:) They make my day! I miss my sisters so much! Amanda, thank you for the scripture, Emily, feel better:(, Jessica, you are so sweet! Good luck with the work rush! I also loved the pictures, please keep including those. I was sad to hear about the Cowboys, but I love to see that dad is still repping them! I wear my Cowboys sweatshirt every day! It keeps me nice and warm. I wore it on our EPIC run to Slovakia! I will send a picture of it. We took a back road and honestly we were not sure how close we got. We are pretty sure we were there since on the map the border where we are is a huge forest, and we got to a huge line of trees! Well, I love you all, I will write more next week.


Elder Hadfield