Question: How many people can fit into a Marshooka bus?
But to be honest, I think that a few more people could have squeezed inside...
Anyway... This week sure has been fun. It's been filled with babushka blessings, dogs and drunk men. Yup. I've offically had blessings from a babushka bestowed upon me. I seriously don't know how I was surviving in the world without it. And all it took was offering to help a little, old babushka ("grandma") with some of her heavy-looking bags and offering up my seat in a marshootka. Who knew it was that easy?!
This week has also been a great week for our progressing investigator who I'll call "Света Чудо" or "Sveta Chooda" (Чудо means miracle). And she really is our little miracle. I haven't really mentioned her before in any of my other e-mails home, and after three weeks now, I feel slightly sheepish for waiting this long to mention her. Well, anyway. Sister Dickison and her previous companion found her... I can't really remember the specifics... but, we've been teaching her for a few weeks now -- since I first got here to Nikolayiv. And this week... guess who's getting baptized?!
That's right! Sveta! Sister Dickison and I are so proud of her! Sveta is so loving and humble and desirious to learn. Before we start our lessons with her, she always pulls out her Book of Mormon and tells us her thoughts and any questions that she had with what she read. I have no idea what her comments and thoughts are most of the time, but it's so cool to watch her eyes light up and the eagerness in her facial expressions when she reads the verses. Ugh. Sveta is just awesome. Seriously. She is a golden investigator. And I am so lucky to be able to have the opportunity to help teach an investigator like her, in my first transfer on a mission, no less! I love her. She is so patient and loving with me. When I try to spew out a few words or my testimony in horrible Russian and she just sits there with a small smile on her face, patiently waiting for me to finish stumbling over my words and nods. The Spirit really does speak a whole other language, and I know that Sveta is in-tune with it. Oh. and Sveta even has a nickname for me. She calls me "Макрей-чик" (Makrey-che'k) which is like, a cute-sey, loving way to say my last name. Or something. I dunno. But I love it.
Nikolayiv is growing. We are going to have 3 baptisims in the next two or three weeks. It's insane. The Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine mission is really starting to grow. Apparently, the baptisim stats for last year, 2012, were a total of 48 baptisms. Now, at this moment, there's been, if I remember right, 66 baptisims in 2013. By the end of the month, there should be 74 or so. And that means we will only have 3 months to reach our mission goal of 100 baptisims this year. And I know that we can hit it! I know without a doubt.
Yesterday was also our zone conference (hence why I'm sending this e-mail on a Tuesday). I learned an incredible amount of information that I still can't totally comprehend right now. Like seriously. I was just sitting on the bus on the way home to Nikolayiv from Xherson (where the zone conference was) and I was just reviewing what all happened and the things that I learned during the roleplays that we did. I can't wait to apply some of those things that I learned to my teaching.
Ahh I hope this e-mail makes sense.
Not much time left. Dagnabbit.
Anyway. I know that Ukraine is the best place for me to be right now. I know that my purpose of a missionary is true and I am so glad that I could be out here right, preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ to the great people of Ukraine. Even though there may be people that don't like or agree that we, Americans, are here in their country right now, I know that we are doing helping the Lord with sharing the gospel with His children.
Sister Mariah McCrea