It was a white Christmas in Zaporozhye, Ukraine. Nope, not white as in snow.
White as in white baptismal clothes.
Yup... I actually got a baptism for Christmas! Sister Nielsen and I finally got the baptism that we've been working and fighting for since I came to Zap over a month ago. Our gold star investigator, (who Sister Nielsen and Sister Blake get the credit for finding) finally got baptized!
Christmas Day was a day full of miracles for Sister Nielsen and I. It started out with Sister Nielsen and I sneakily hiding presents for each other on our study desks. Presents that included marshmallows and a Russian knockoff coloring book for Sister Nielsen and various little knick-knacks that Sister Nielsen got for me in Bulgaria which included liquid eye-liner (which is really snazzy) and BROWN SUGAR!!! jfajkejkrjkewjrkweakjrkwejrwek
jrkwej Never in my life had I ever been so happy to see brown sugar!!!
-- Sister Nielsen's joy and excitement is so infectious!
But anyway, back to the real Christmas miracle. We originally didn't even plan to meet with (for security purposes I will call her "Ири") Ири that day. Something magically just happened during companionship study; by the time we had to be out the door at 12, we had hooked a member to be able to come with us and had a killer lesson plan. It was per-FECT.
And then -- three days later, Ири was baptized and she is now the newest member of the church in the Zaporozhye branch! That baptismal service was one of the most perfect services that I've ever been too... and I'm so glad that Sister Nielsen and I were able to contribute to our mission's goal of having 100 baptisms in 2013. We unfortunately weren't able to reach the goal of 100 -- we were only 7 baptisms off! In 2013, the Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine mission got 93 baptisms.
And that's okay! Because 93 people came unto Christ via the waters of baptism and became members of the church! And those 93 people all have names. And I helped with two of those! :D
Anyway. Other noteworthy things that happened this week.
- I got to spent 40 wonderful minutes talking with my parents.
- The Zaporozhye branch put on a wonderful Nativity pageant on Christmas Eve. And we, the missionaries, got to take part and be the lovely "angelic" choir.
- ZONE CONFERENCE!
- I found out that Elder Banags (an elder from Latvia) has pretty much fallen in love with the peach cobbler that I made for our investigator's baptism. He told me so, at least four different times.
And just a random insight on Ukrainian culture: Pizza is an international food. They have pizza here in Ukraine. The only difference is that Ukrainians LOVE mayonnaise on their pizza. Yup, good ol' mayo. It takes a bit to get used to... but after yesterday, I can finally say that I've tried an Ukrainian pizza with mayo that I like.
And I am by no means finished with writing about what happened this week... but alas, my internet time is coming to a close.
In closing, I'd just like to say... for those of you who have debated on writing me because you're under the impression that I don't have enough time to write back -- you're probably right. I don't have a lot of time to reply back to mail that I get (and it doesn't help that a post office is a scary place to go to when you don't know Russian or Ukrainian)... BUT I STILL LIKE TO RECEIVE MAIL!