What is your name? Where are you from? How did you feel when you opened your call and is said you'd be serving in Salt Lake City?
Of course, my answer for that last one always turns the conversation a bit.
I am now serving in the Avenues (just east of Salt Lake) and it is AWESOME. My companion is Sister Orellana, she's from Guatemala (I call her Гватемаленькая. Those who have ears, let them hear.) and she's teaching me Spanish! Well kind of. She's a little more passionate for learning Russian than she is for teaching Spanish. But we're working on it. Anyway, she's awesome, and I love working with her :)
Here our companionship covers a stake. Yes you read that right - 8 wards. Oy. ha ha I didn't even know this many members existed! But it's been really awesome getting to know everyone and being treated like a celebrity as they hear my story. Plus, it turns out there are Russian/Ukrainian connections everywhere. So I'm looking forward to getting in contact with some of those :)
This week we spend a lot of time driving around (yes, you read right again - DRIVING) and getting to know all the leaders. They schedule most of our appointments and we just get to teach. That's been probably the best part. Once again - as opposite as could possibly be from Ukraine.
It's been really awesome though, because I found one of the reasons that I'm here. We'll call them David and Michal, after my favorite bible character and his (first) wife. Eh, don't look too much into that story to know about them. Anyway, they have been less active for many many years and have recently decided that it's time for them to come back. They aren't married, so they got separate apartments, and started meeting with us. Now we're working on helping them quit smoking and just in general develop some good habits and get re-activated. Their pasts and thoughts on all of this are SO interesting, and I just love them both so much. The other day David told me we were kindred spirits. Sister Orellana told me, "I feel like people have missionaries that they call THEIR missionaries - and we are THEIR missionaries." And I feel like that too. It's been the best coming here, and falling right into a place where I feel like I belong and am needed.
Things that only happen in Utah:
We get fed by members EVERY night. One lady who took us out had just been called as relief society president and told us "I'm new and I forgot to pass around the sheet... so pick your favorite place to eat, and I'm taking you out tomorrow too!" We told her to choose a place, and she wanted to go to cheesecake factory. We were SO excited! We talked about it all the next day until we realized... It was just out of our area by ONE block!! #saltlakeboundaries #sixmissionsonecity #exactobediencebringstheblessings. So we had to call her and tell her we couldn't go. :( ha ha. #timesaretoughfordreamers #beengoneawhilebutstillknowhowtohashtag
We were at a stake conference and the speaker was talking about this video which gave a program she had developed for strengthening families and improving communication. While she was talking about it, someone in the audience of the stake conference raised their hand and asked what the film would be rated....... hahahahaha, TELL ME that would happen anywhere else. Is it bad that I think that's so funny??
I'm sure this list will build in the coming weeks. I love you all. Keep the faith - this is the right way, and the gospel changes lives and hearts.